Sharing a postcode with next-door Darlinghurst, Surry Hills is so rich in culture and history, it’s hard to know where to start.
Surry Hills history
The area was settled from the 1790s with the first land grant going to Major Joseph Foveaux, after whom Foveaux Street is named. The suburb derives its name from Foveaux’s farm, Surry Hills Farm. From the 1820s, you might have seen villas being erected alongside worker cottages and terrace houses were constructed from the 1850s.
Until gentrification from the 1970s onwards, Surry Hills was a melting pot for merchants and the poorest classes, the latter immortalised in Ruth Park’s ‘Harp in the South’. Herself from New Zealand, Park married the writer D’Arcy Niland and much of her material arose from her experiences living with him in the poorer areas of Surry Hills.
For decades, Surry Hills around Central Station was home to the ‘rag trade’; wholesale clothing and tailoring. Advertising agencies also called Surry Hills home; one of these included Hertz Walpole, an agency that incorporated the original Smith & Julius agency founded in 1906.
Notable Australian artists who worked for Smith & Julius included Roland Wakelin, Lloyd Rees and John Passmore. Australian artist Brett Whiteley kept a studio in Surry Hills at 2 Raper Street in the maze between Devonshire and Davies Streets. It is now an art museum run by the Art Gallery of NSW. Number 2 Holt Street is home to News Corp in Sydney and advertising agency staff well remember rushing ad copy to this address to beat a deadline. And where did you go after work? If you were in Production, you hung out at the Evening Star Hotel; the journalists favoured the Strawberry Hills Hotel in Elizabeth Street.
Why choose Surry Hills?
Surry Hills might possibly offer the most diversity of any suburb in Sydney. For that reason and more, it is attractive to renters who want to sample all that’s on offer in this exciting suburb. If you want to sample almost any type of cuisine, you’ll find it in Surry Hills.
Housing ranges from small worker terraces to rather grander merchant terraces from the 1850s. More recently we’ve seen a host of new apartment complexes – along Elizabeth Street and Crown Street in particular ‒ and warehouse conversions. Excellent transport routes cross the suburb, from buses to light rail to Central Station, our major rail and bus hub for the East.
Leafy streets, terrace homes, modern apartments and warehouse conversions offer advantages for homeowners, renters and commercial tenants. Recent years have seen more commercial development that caters for those businesses who have grown out of their unfit-for-purpose terraces and need the modern conveniences of suitable office space.
According to the data, renters comprise 67% of residents in Surry Hills.
While its ‘party hearty’ reputation may have dimmed as new home owners move to the area, the suburb is still renowned for cafés, restaurants and bars, as well as pubs that were prominent in the 1980s as live music venues. Belvoir Street Theatre calls Surry Hills home, as does the delightful Golden Age Cinema and Bar, an Art Deco gem that was formerly the screening room and offices for Paramount Pictures.
Kinsela’s, now an elegant cocktail bar, began life as a funeral parlour before being converted to a nightclub with live shows in the early 1980s. Oxford Street in the 1970s was a haven for LGBTQI+, with several gay bars and nightclubs along the strip. The street is still the focal street for the annual Mardi Gras parade.
Surry Hills is under the stewardship of the City of Sydney Council that, over the past 17 years, has upgraded the library on Crown Street, renovated and upgraded parks (including Prince Alfred Park and Pool) and added dedicated bike lanes.
Moore Park and access to the old Sydney showground site and Sydney Cricket Ground, and parks within the suburb and on the city side mean plenty of open space. The Moore Park Golf Course is nearby and you’re just a brisk walk away from the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence gym and pool in Redfern.
Surry Hills home prices and rental yield
In Surry Hills, the median house price is sitting at $1,810,000, while the median price for units is $900,000 (May 2021).
The median rent for houses is $850 and for units, $533 p.w.
These figures translate into a gross rental yield for houses (as at May 2021) of 2.44%, while units are delivering a 3.13% return.
Capital growth in Surry Hills NSW
Houses in Surry Hills showed 7.09% growth over a ten-year period (May 2021).
Units delivered growth of 15.95% for the past year; over the longer term investors can expect growth of around 6.08%.
This suburb has shown a slow but steady rise in property values.
Adding value to your Surry Hills investment property
To ensure high occupancy and a better-quality tenant, landlords need to keep their properties relevant. Especially now with a flight to regional cities or suburbs with newer housing stock, it’s vital to give your asset the best chance of success.
- Top things to do to keep your Surry Hills rental property top of mind
- Make it pet-friendly. The incidence of pet ownership in the Eastern Suburbs and the Inner West is increasing as people continue to work from home and live in smaller households. These renters need understanding landlords.
- Keep up the maintenance. Things wear out, paint and flooring gets tired. To give your property the best chance of gaining a long-term tenant, keep your property fresh.
- Add amenities like air conditioning, ceiling fans or a dishwasher.
Ensure you and your property manager communicate regularly with tenants to ensure they’re happy and they know you’re there for them.
Recently leased properties
In Surry Hills, Vogue Property leased 5 properties in the last 12 months (as at May 2021).
You can view our recently leased Surry Hills properties here to get a better feel for what properties are being rented.